Are we really strangers?
The morning is freezing cold when I wake up. The windows are foggy, yet I can still hear the silent chatter of people outside. What time is it any way? Oh great, I'm only now missing my cell phone. Moi stirred, waking up likewise as I pad towards the bathroom washing my face and brushing my teeth. When I return she's staring out the window preoccupied with her thoughts. It's been days since Rider had stopped talking with us, well me particularly. I'm not at all bothered by his coldness I just don't understand it.
"I'm going out" I reply heading towards the door.
"You've been avoiding me like a plague"
"I'm just going out to get some air Moi! I promise, I don't even care about running away or finding the witch doctor"
"Halie, you're avoiding me because of the Rider situation I know it"
"I don't know what you're talking about" I say opening the door. I don't want to talk about it. It's shitty. Everyone treats me like a child. They act as if I don't know trouble when I see it. As if I'm an idiot.
I knew heading into the forest was risky. I knew there's a chance I might actually find myself in a very dangerous and compromising position. But they didn't understand the chaos that went on in my mind. I had to find Rider for reasons I don't know, I had to tell him not to go, again for reasons that were beyond me. I just had to go. I just....something told me it'd be dangerous, whatever they were about to do.
"Halie he still cares"
"We're talking about a complete stranger Moi. Whether he cares or not shouldn't matter"
"But it does matter" She states staring back at me. "Doesn't it?"
I bit my lip squeezing my eyes shut. No, it doesn't matter. It's not supposed to.
"Do you know something I don't? Are you not telling me something? "
My bestfriend's eyes widened to saucers before glancing across the room.
"No. I just.... I know he's not trying to hurt you"
"I'm going out okay" .
Sunlight trickled through the tress, golden and light. It's not hot out yet, just warm. Tthough I do rub my arms from time to time, as I wander around with no direction. Men are about, some carrying wood, others water. No one pays me any attention though, just kept to themselves. A commotion catches my ear a little further down and I pad towards it, finding myself at the training ring.
Five teen sparr with each other, sweat soaking their black attire and their coach- Quinn is no less endowed. His back glistened with sweat in the warm sunlight, his light blonde hair now brown and sticking against his scalp. A smile flits to my lips momentarily as I watch him show another set of trainees around an obstacle course.
"If I knew I'd have an audience, I'd have put on a better show"
My smile broadens further. "I think you're doing pretty well considering" I reply gesturing to all the crazy things lying around.
Quinn gives his class a break, grabbing a towel bounding over to where I stood, sporting that golden smile I'd often seen.
"Didn't peg you for an early riser"
"Really. What time is it?"
Quinn's head falls back a little staring into the canopy, as he dries his hair.
"Hmm, I'd say a little after six"
"How'd you know?" I ask staring into the direction he did. " I couldn't tell the time watching the clouds even if I tried"
He chuckled before his golden eyes meet mine once again.
"I'm estimating Halie. The clock read four when I left for rounds this morning and by the distance of the sun, I know it's pretty early still"
"And here I thought you used some ancient method"
Quinn laughed resting against the ring lines, folding his arms.
"I'm not sure what you think we are but we're just as ordinary as you are Halie" He turned giving me a wink. "If not more"
"Well you guys live in the middle of nowhere, what am I supposed to think?"
" That we're an advanced civilization "
I snorted. "Yeah right. When you've got Wi-Fi let me know"
"Head back home guys. We're done for today" Quinn shouts towards the group before walking through the gate towards me. He's made thoroughly of lean ripped muscle from his torso upwards as I blush as he meets my eyes with a smile. We walk him chatting me up, pointing towards a few trees or pausing every now and again to talk with his friends. Sometimes I drift back feeling awkward with the weary looks some give me, as if I'm a disease they'd rather avoid. Especially when the children attempt to say hello and their mothers drag them away.
"Sorry about that. Seems I have a few things to fix"
"You're a handy man?"
Quinn shrugs smiling shyly as he runs his had through his now disheveled but dry hair.
"Something like that"
My eyes dart to his bulging biceps lingering a little longer than normal before doing a complete sweep of him, swallowing thickly. Quinn's eyes shimmer with curiosity when I meet them again and I can't help the embarrassment I feel crawling up my neck knowing I'm found out.
"Ahem" I say clearing my throat avoiding our very imminent dangerous kill me now conversation.
Quinn catches my arm as I attempt to run away and I steele myself.
Admit to nothing Halie!
"See something you like?"
" Er, no" I say shaking my head still walking away.
"I saw you staring"
"It was nothing" I say shrugging. "I think I saw a lizard"
"A lizard" Quinn says his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Bet I get you to admit what you saw! "
"You wouldn't dare!"
"Oh I dare" Quinn responds pouncing on me and tickling until both of us fall into a ball rolling around in the dirt, while I holler for him to stop.
People pass but we still struggle together. Me trying desperately to get him off between laughs while he pins me effortlessly. I don't even want to think of the possibilities going through everyone's minds right now about us.
"Ahem" Someone coughs loudly and we stop, only the smile had slipped from my face when I glance over my shoulder meeting dark pools.
Instantly Quinn and I separate, well mostly me figetting from one place to another as Rider stares at both of us.
"I see you're free" He says to Quinn forgetting I'm even standing here and it kinda hurts that he completely ignored me.
Quinn shrugs, dusting his pants off before picking a leaf from my hair. I tense but I'm the only one overreacting and I swear I feel like a child who's on punishment.
"Training ended early"
"Come on" Rider responds turning on his heel. "I need your help with a few things"
"Oh, I was ah, just going to take Halie to have breakfast" Quinn interjects smoothly and it's only then that Rider casts me a glance. It's not long even, barely there and he seems more annoyed with me than anything.
Ever since that day in Jax's office, we haven't spoken, I barely saw him around and when we do find ourselves confined to a space, he opts out. He talks to Moi though, I'm not jealous persay. I'm confused as to what I did to make him treat me like a nuisance. Or maybe he really did like Moi.
"Fine" Rider says finally ending the awkward silence as he walks away. "Meet me at the West wing when you're finished"
"No, ah, it's fine. I'll just get Moi" I say suddenly stepping back from the men.
"Are you sure?" Quinn asks raising his eyebrows.
" Yeah, I...." I glanced at Rider before giving Quinn a small smile. "I've got a few things to do anyways. We'll catch up later"
It shouldn't matter that Rider doesn't talk to me anymore, I mean it wasn't as if we were best friends. We argued all the time and he was stubborn and a know it all and he never listens anyway. He was also the reason I was still here- well that and the huge monsters that were running a mock of the forest. So what if he rejects me as his mate, whatever that might actually mean. It's not like I liked him or anything or wanted to be his girlfriend.
Would he ever think of me as his girlfriend?
What was Rider's type anyway? Blondes, brunettes? Subs? I know he definitely doesn't like stubborn.
Okay, slow down Halie, I chided myself walking through Jax's door that was partially open.
"Hey Jax can I use......your phone?" My words slow as my brain processes my bestfriend entangled in Jax's arms, their bodies glued together. Didn't I leave her in bed?
"Wow" I gestured between the now entangled mess that littered the office and the two offending parties who had placed a world of space between them. Guess now I know why he was staring at her so intensely. "Are you two an item now?"
"Don't ask silly questions Halie" A red faced Moi mumbles. "We were just trying something"that
" No, seems like you've figured it out. Perfected it even with all that tongue dancing"
Jax gestures towards the phone before taking a seat at his desk enjoying every moment of Moi's torture. I swear this guy is the worst for her, but I definitely like him.
"Just so you know, her brother will kill you if you date her"
"Fine. But don't say I didn't warn you" I reply dialing Lorenzo's cell listening to it ring while making kissy faces at Moi. "Hey Enzo"
"Halie? Where the f*** are you and Moi! Where ever you two are get back right now!"
"You don't get to order me around" I snapped back. "And one we're on a camping trip, I'm not sure when we'll be back"
He snorted. "Moi on a camping trip? You believable, Moi not so much"
"I know right, she ruins everything"
"She forced me!" Moi yelled into the receiver and I pushed her away laughing with her brother.
" See what I'm talking about. I should've brought you instead. God know having a guy here would've been much better than Moi"
"I'm serious Halie, you two need to get home. So just tell me your location and I'll come get you both right away" Lorenzo responds in a voice that's too serious to be his.
"No, I can't. Honestly I'm not sure where we are and before you have a stroke, let's keep in mind it's me and not Moi"
"I'm very much offended by the way" Moi chips in. "You're the reckless one"
"As I was saying, just cover for us until we get back. Well sort out our stories later"
When he hangs up after much argument, because I'd never think Lorenzo would be protective of us, much more his annoying sister; I leave Jax and my bestfriend to their private frolicking. But only because I'll have the details later.
I hurry down the stairs hoping maybe I'll catch even the scraps of breakfast, because I was beyond starving. I'm running one minute then tumbling down the stairs the next as I trip over my stupid shoe laces. My rolling stone act falls to an abrupt stop as I collide with something hard, only it's more flesh and bone than rock.
"You should be more careful Halie, you might hurt yourself real bad"
"Rider?" My eyes lift in time to see his expression change from concern to relief before he bends tying my laces.
"You're good now" Riders says standing up and steeping back taking a good look at me.
"Thank you" I whisper not exactly sure how to go about a conversation, or if it was even worth a try since he'll probably just walk away anyhow.
All of those thoughts are placed on pause however the moment his warm hand strokes my now inflamed cheeks.
"Come on" he says turning on his heels heading out the door. "Someone gotta ensure those steps don't cause you an accident"
" Dont be stubborn right now" I huff but manage to keep my thoughts to myself when we finally step into the open. "Be careful Halie"
I watch Rider walk away feeling stupid as ever. Why didn't I confront him about why he was avoiding me? Only I think I might figure out the reason a little later. A dark haired woman accosted him as he moved further away and I bristle watching her run her talons along his arms and chest. She's pretty and their familiar with each other that I can tell. And as if the bitch could sense my rising anger, she glanced in my direction before bracing her body again his, wrapping those lanky arms of hers around his neck.
It's only then that it crosses my mind that I could literally be capable of murder.